Saturday, November 07, 2015

SWF 2015 :: Dimensions & Demons

As absorbed in guitars and music-making as the man is, he's also very into books, words and the language. His reading repertoire is wider than mine, and he's more into what I laughingly term 'literary novels'. We share a love for graphic novels (or if you prefer, comics). Beyond that, he's less into fantasy and the supernatural, and definitely will never pick up my B-grade horror stuff. HAHAHA.

This year, the man loves the events offered at Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) more than I do. Words and music. No better way to grab our attention, and the incredible support for local musicians and their works. Co-produced by SWF and Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, 'Dimensions & Demons' was definitely a must-go on our calendars. The performances were more than just musicians providing music to the words already written. They were true collaborations with both musicians and writers sharing a vision, working on a new concept, writing the words, and agreeing on the mode of presentation.

After the first time, we begin to look forward to each new rain // And to the reappearance of this other, strange city // At the first sign of dark clouds, we leave our homes // And dance under the sky // We raise our hands, longing to feel the kiss of raindrops // As the storm unfurls its liquid sheets, we race through the streets // From one city and into the other 

Through the use of cut-out paper puppets animated on film made by Kate Pocklington and Ferry (solo project of Jean Low of Giants Must Fall), she and Giants bandmate Kelvin Ang, and Stephanie Ye explored the idea of parallel existence and possibilities in 'Rain City'. Of a parallel universe. Stephanie read the short story of a a city that appears when it rains, of the same people leading different lives in that city.

At every turn she visits various booths where she confesses uncomfortable truths to every individual she has ever lied to. In a swelling scale of calamity, one story snowballs into another, each time becoming more surreal. 
As the night continues, the carnival becomes increasingly bizarre, as everyone on the grounds waits for her to confess the biggest lie of all.

Dave Chua and weish explored guilt and imagination in 'A Carnival of Confessions'. Set within carnival grounds, the mere act of recollection took on a surrealistic form. Which are truths? Which are lies? weish took the lead on stage with her multi-layered sounds. Dave Chua didn't do so much on stage, but before the performance, co-created structre of a carnival and the lies and reviewed the words and lies uttered by weish. She sang the confessions. Of simple lies building up to a crescendo of insidious confessions.

I say to you this once, like how you would say to me. 
That afternoon. // The sun was so bright, I couldn't see your face. // Your words, you uttered them, but I could not hear. How many hours, since that moment. // Since I could feel my lids shut. // The watch, this watch. // The hands move. Our watch. // Which you gave. // How many hours, since I could dream?

Daren Shiau and Riot !n Magenta meshed the surreal lines of regret, memory, loops and beats in  'Lucid Dreams'. Of how sleep is elusive and dreams are the waking reality or dreams are too lucid to be just dreams. It was sung. Daren Shiau sorted out the lyrics/text, and the band gave it the angst, vocals and song.

The post-show dialogue was most helpful in highlighting the creative processes behind the partnerships 'matchmade' by Esplanade's and SWF's programming teams. Moderated by Festival Director Yeow Kai Chai, it gave a glimpse of how the musicians and writers communicated in order to realize the theme and ultimately the performance on stage. It resulted in rather different presentation styles. Loved how the collaboration(s) panned out. It was such a wonderful show!

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